May 23, 2010

My first presentation – afterthoughts

Filed under: biforum, presentation — rmoff @ 19:17

I delivered my first presentation today, at the RittmanMead BI Forum.I was really nervous in the hours and minutes leading up to it, but once I got up there and started talking I actually quite enjoyed it. If you were in the audience, I’d love some feedback in the comments section below, particularly any “constructive criticism”.
I obviously didn’t make too much of a mess of it, as I was awarded “best speaker” of the event, which was a great honour. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to present again soon, perhaps at an UKOUG event.

You can download the presentation here.

Whilst I was writing the presentation I went through a lot of versions (iterative, huh), as having never delivered a presentation before it took me a while to figure out how to go about writing it. Here are my thoughts that I jotted down during the process, and which hopefully may help someone else:

  • You’re writing a presentation, not a paper. You don’t have to cite every reference or prove every example.
  • You’re writing a presentation, not a classroom training session. You don’t have to necessarily detail every step to do what you’re doing.
  • What do you want your audience to leave with?
  • What are you adding by being there that they couldn’t get from a well written blog post or white paper?

This post was useful: Creating technical presentations

I’d strongly recommend talking through your slides, ideally with a colleague but even to your dog — you’ll find some transitions really grate, and some slides you’ve talked about before even getting to them and skip over – that’s a sign you should drop them.

Someone mentioned “The Curve” to me, and if you think of good presentations you’ve been to you’ll know what it means – that idea of a start, the chunky bit, and the gentle ending – all of it carrying you with you on well, a curve. It’s a good concept to aim for.

Finally – possibly trite, but something I found to be true: The presentation will write itself. How’s that work? Well do a version, and then leave it for a week, completely alone. When you come back to it you’ll be fresher and some bits will be obviously superfluous or missing detail.

Here’s a link to a previous posting with some good advice on writing a presentation. One which I found particularly helpful was to remember Pete Scott‘s advice — the audience will be on your side (hopefully!). It’s not a sales pitch to a sceptical audience, it’s sharing your knowledge with others who will find it interesting.



  1. Well…..as subjects go, ‘Testing’ doesn’t jump out as ‘thrill a minute’…however, you successfully managed to make it relevant and interesting and I, for one, took quite a lot away from it (for which I thank you!). What I liked was that the presentation was very well structured (or should I say that it had a great curve?!) and by taking us through your experiences and placing these firmly in the context of what and why you were doing made it really relevant. During your session, I continually found myself thinking about the implications of what you were discussing on my current OBIEE project and I am confident that I’ll take some of your advice into my project delivery. I also thought that your presentation style was spot on for the audience…relaxed and informal (but still serious!). I guess that it’s important to think about your audience….a more formal setting may need a more formal delivery. Well done rnm, you deserve the ‘accolade’ and I look forward to hearing your next presentation soon!

    Comment by Mike Vickers — May 23, 2010 @ 21:22

  2. […] Robin Moffat was a little bit nervous about his presentation he was chosen as the best presenter at the forum. In […]

    Pingback by RittmanMead BI Forum 2010 – Wrap Up « Oracle BI By Bakboord — May 24, 2010 @ 19:40

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